Easy Solutions to Flash Problems

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What are some problems a camera flash can cause when shooting digital portraits?

Easy Solutions to Flash Problems

If you shoot indoors, chances are that you use flash. Here are a few quick tips to avoid some common flash problems in your digital portraits:

Red-eye is the light from your flash reflecting off the back of the subject's eye - as in a mirror - and back to your camera. This happens because the camera's flash is too close to the lens, causing the light from the flash to travel almost directly back at the camera. Most cameras' red-eye reduction features are only partially effective, but there are things you can do to reduce red-eye yourself.

*Shoot candids. At gatherings, avoid having everyone stop what they're doing, bunch together and stare into the camera. Instead, shoot people in natural moments together, when they're not staring directly at the camera. You'll have to shoot more pictures to get "good ones," but that's no problem with digital cameras.

*Shoot protraits in partial profile. If your subject turns even slightly away from the flash, you'll get rid of that annoying red-eye. And you'll find that partial profile shots not only give your pictures a certain mood, theyll make your portraits stand out from everyone else's.

*Shut off the flash. If there's enough light in the room to shoot without flash, do so. Just set your digital camera's white balance for the type of light that's available. (Many cameras have an "auto" white balance setting that's remarkably accurate.)

Another common problem when using flash is the appearance of harsh shadows. This problem usually results when the subject is too close to the background. Simply move the cubject further away from the background and shoot again.

You may find that your informal portraits sometimes come out too dark. This problem typically results when you're too far from the subject. The flashes on most compact cameras have very limited ranges. If you find your subjects coming out too dark - even with flash - simply get in the habit of moving in a little closer.

Finally, you may find it takes longer and longer for your flash to be ready between shots (This is called "recycling."). When a camera's flash is taking "too long" to recycle, it's usually a sign of weak batteries. If you think you'll be taking a lot of flash pictures, be sure to carry spare batteries. Nobody like to hold a pose while your digital camera's flash recycles.



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